Truth and Reconciliation

Despite the large cast of over 20, a sense of emptiness and loss pervades Debbie Tucker Green’s short, powerful and hauntingly poignant new play which she also directs. Seated on hard wooden chairs (some inscribed, tombstone like, with the names of casualties) the audience surrounds the gravel-strewn oval playing space to hear fragmented testimony and the anguish behind it.

Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission set up in South Africa at the end of Apartheid, it casts its net further afield – embracing Rwanda in 2005, Northern Ireland in 1999, Bosnia in 1996 and Zimbabwe in 2007 as, accompanied by friends and family, the victims come to confront their former aggressors.

A South African woman has spent 22 years wondering what happened to her teenage daughter. No matter how painful, a Tutsi widow desperately needs to know details about her husband’s death at the hands of a Hutu killer. A pair of Serbian ex-soldiers comes face to face with the Bosnian woman one of them impregnated. An antagonistic Northern Irish mother shows no regret for the actions of her son.

Committed performances and sparse, fragmentary writing highlight the emotional complexity inherent in these attempts at restorative justice, leaving questions and stories hanging in the air, and, in the space of 60 minutes, add to the sense of hurt and damage which time has not yet healed.

– Louise Kingsley

Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
020 7565 5000
Tube: Sloane Square
Until September 24
£20, Mondays £10

Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, SE15 4ST
020 7565 5000
Rail: Peckham Rye
September 29 – October 15
Pay what you like on the door or £10 in advance